Video Check-In: Meeting a Master Romanian Icon Painter

Video Check-In: Meeting a Master Romanian Icon Painter

MIR Tour Manager Michel Behar and his group of travelers on the June departure of Bulgaria & Romania: Frescoes & Fortresses checked in with a rare video highlight from Transylvania in Romania: visiting the home of legendary Romanian icon painter and priest, Nicolae Calugar. The walls, tables and rooms of the 82-year-old priest’s cozy home are covered with more than 130 icons he’s painted over the years.

Here’s a taste of what they saw, as Nicolae Calugar explains in Romanian and a local guide translates the meaning and message of these holy icons:

Sacred ObjectsMichel Behar and his group learned that the icons are not intended simply to be decorations hanging on a wall. Rather, they are considered sacred objects whose influence is always present in the lives of people in good times and bad, in their earthly lives as well as in the afterlife.

Calugar’s icons are painted on the reverse side of glass, a process known as “iconae pe sticla.” These folk-style icons are first outlined in black ink, then filled in with tempera or oil colors. “Iconae pe sticla” is an artistic tradition handed down from generation to generation, with each Romanian village producing its own unique style.

“In my travels I’ve seen icons in many churches in many countries, so it was fascinating to actually meet an icon painter and priest. Nicolae Caluger’s home was adorned with his own gorgeous icons, so full of color and life. When he ran out of space, he simply placed them on the floor in rows.”

Michel Behar – MIR Tour Manager

One of Calugar’s icons was given to England’s Prince Charles as a gift; another treasured Calugar icon is his interpretation of the famous “Last Judgment” fresco, seen on the walls of Voronet Monastery, one of the painted monasteries of Romania’s Bucovina region.

Bright colors are commonly used in the local icons of Saschiz, Romania, and framed with linden wood <br>Photo credit: Michel Behar

Bright colors and linden wood frames are commonly used in the local icons of Saschiz, Romania
Photo credit: Michel Behar

Travel to Romania with MIR Delving into cultural and religious traditions – such as visiting the home of a Romanian icon painter – is a highlight on MIR’s June and September departures of Bulgaria & Romania: Frescoes & Fortresses small group tours, which explore the complex history and culture of these two countries.

Other scheduled tours to Central and East Europe include:

With over two decades of travel experience in Central and East Europe, MIR can also create a handcrafted custom, private journey focusing on your special interests and timeline in RomaniaBulgaria, Hungary, PolandBelarus and other countries of this region.

(Top photo: More than 130 icons fill the home of Romanian master icon painter Nicolae Calugar. Photo credit: Michel Behar)

PUBLISHED: June 15, 2015

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